Institutional and stakeholder theory are employed to provide a conceptual framework to examine the issues posed for public_private partnerships (PPPs) as they create a governance framework to manage the interactions of multiple parties with different capabilities and varying interests. Because projects typically extend over several decades, a fundamental challenge is posed by dynamic stakeholder networks that vary significantly across the phases of project lifecycle. Project phases include identification or development, procurement, construction and maintenance. It is observed that different subsets of stakeholders assume dominance during each of these phases. These processes are illustrated by an empirical study of a highway transportation project making use of multiple types of archival data and interviews with a cross-section of stakeholders along the project timeline.